GROUNDHORSE Day better watching Puppy Bowl X

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Okay, Phil the Groundhog saw his shadow on February 2, 2014, but he probably wasn’t as frightened by it as the Denver Broncos seemed to be of the Seattle Seahawks in SuperBowl XLVIII. The event started off great with the reading of the Declaration of Independence by prominent football players, coaches, and dignitaries. Queen Latifa sang America the Beautiful and opera star, Renee Fleming, sang the National Anthem. (I was enjoying that immensely until she deviated from the straight tune at the end, like so many others. It’s no wonder players showcase when they make a big play – seems everyone does it). Even Joe Namath’s coin toss promised an exciting game, but a bad snap which gave Seattle a safety and did not bode well for Denver. Hey, only two points, right?  But soon, the Seahawks were up 23-0 and not even a strange young girl pushing Maseratis commercial or Charlie Brown and Schroeder playing the piano for Metlife could ease the feeling that the Broncos were being ground to a pulp.

Why didn’t Peyton Manning do what he does best – throw the ball 20 0r 30 yeards downfield and get first down after first down? Run plays and short passes accomplished nothing and with 1:45 left in the second quarter, Seattle had 9 first downs and Denver only 1. Oh, but there was the halftime show with The Chili Peppers and lots more commercials. But Jerry Seinfeld and George discussing using the bathroom in someone’s master bedroom and then joking around and getting coffee didn’t help much. That’s when we found the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. Eight adorable puppies played with a variety of footballs and toys on a scaled down indoor football mat. One puppy was called for “intentional growling” and another picked up a  toy and walked across the goal line. Touchdown! It was cute but a a little hokey. We had a serious football game to get back to.

Percy Harvin (Seattle)  returned the first kick for a touchdown as the second half started. 29-0 now and it got worse. But there was still hope and the promise of more commercials. Laurence Fishburne singing Italian Opera in the back of Kia, a bear ringing the bell on the counter of a country store to get more Chobani, and an American extravaganza with ferris wheels, Rosie the Riveter, and baseball moments for Chrysler (Imported from Detroit) failed to improve the situation.  The memory of some of the better ads in the first half helped a little. Colbert proclaiming “I think we’re done” after talking up Wonderful Pistachios and then a second commercial where his head opens to reveal a ‘stachio inside, was good. There was David Beckham in a tank top for H&M, a “the 80’s called, they want their store back” Radio Shack funny, Tim Tebow for T-mobile, and Ellen Degeneres dancing for Beats music. I have to stop and tell an Ellen story. She said, “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 65. She’s 95 now and we don’t know where the hell she is.” Now that’s funny.

Okay, so Denver finally gets a touchdown and it’s 43-8. But the clock says only 11 minutes are left in the 4th quarter. Time to check the Puppy Bowl. The same pup, a labrador, that scored first has two more touchdowns and one of them was even with a toy football, not a tug-of-war toy. Relunctantly we turn back to the game for a few more ccommercials. John Stamos takes his pants off for Oikos, a cute puppy and Clydesdale ad for Budweiser is ususal, and a variation of the Mean Joe Green Coke commercial starring a kid who carries the football all the way from his homefield to a big-league stadium brings memories. But there is no getting around the fact that this is the worst Superbowl that I can remember. The best offense and the best defense in the League were supposed to offer an exciting game. But it was the worst ever, maybe. I guess someone will check and dispute that, but it’s over, thankfully, and there’s still more football to come on Puppy Bowl X. Even if it’s replays, puppies are cute.

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